Bet you didn’t know that squirrels migrate? Well I didn’t and wildlife officials are predicting this could be the year we see such a rare event. South Carolina officials are thinking that the late killing frost this spring has wiped out much of the food wildlife especially squirrels depend on to get through the winter.
The same Easter freeze that devastated the state’s peach crop could lead to a phenomenon unseen in these parts for nearly 40 years a massive squirrel migration.
Sure, the term sounds funny — picture squirrels in little covered wagons heading west — but it’s serious stuff.
In September 1968, squirrels searching for more hospitable living conditions along the Eastern Seaboard ended up dead along the highways and floating in lake spillways throughout the Southeast.
Wildlife officials have no idea whether another September migration is near, but they do see a repeat of one factor in the last one — the Easter freeze wiped out white oak acorn production.
Well I’ve never seen a squirrel swimming but I’ll certainly be on the look out this fall.
Flyger, who died last year at age 83, reported squirrels in North Carolina in 1968 were so determined to swim across lakes that wildlife officers in boats couldn’t force them to turn around.
Unfortunately, squirrels aren’t great swimmers, and 45 carcasses were found in two weeks in the spillway of the Cheoah Dam in North Carolina. Hundreds more were found dead on highways. Motorists reported squirrels seemed to be dancing in the roads, apparently spooked by traffic after spending most of their lives in the woods.
If nothing else I suspect we’ll see more squirrels at our wildlife feeders.